Navajo plans to block access for uranium transport

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Associated Press

Posted on May 27, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Updated Monday, May 27 at 10:02 AM

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A uranium mining company seeking a mineral lease on state land in northwestern Arizona could have a hard time transporting the ore off site.

That's because the land is surrounded by the Navajo Nation's Big Boquillas Ranch.

Uranium mining has left a legacy of death and disease on the Navajo Nation, which extends into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona and is the country's largest reservation.

Officials from the tribe's Department of Justice say they won't grant Wate Mining Company LLC permission to drive commercial trucks filled with chunks of uranium ore across Navajo land.

A spokesman for Wate Mining declined to comment on road access and whether the Navajo Nation's stance would impede the project.

The Arizona State Land Department says it's up to the mineral lease applicant to secure whatever rights it needs to access neighboring, non-state trust lands.

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